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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

President Droupadi Murmu hails construction of Ram temple in address to joint Houses of Parliament

Modi asks 'habitual offenders' to 'introspect', else they will be forgotten

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 01.02.24, 05:20 AM
President Droupadi Murmu addresses the joint session of Parliament on Wednesday

President Droupadi Murmu addresses the joint session of Parliament on Wednesday PTI picture

Ahead of President Droupadi Murmu hailing the construction of the Ram temple and heaping praise on the government in her address to the joint Houses of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the opening of the budget session on Wednesday to snipe at the Opposition and asked “habitual offenders” to “introspect”, else they will be forgotten. Modi’s remarks were clearly aimed at the Opposition protests during the winter session when a record 145 MPs from both Houses were suspended.

Murmu, who was not called to inaugurate the new Parliament building last year, made her first address to the joint session of the two Houses amid slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat mata ki jai”.

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The Sengol, or sceptre, that was installed by Modi beside the Lok Sabha Speaker’s Chair during the inaugural rites of the new building, led the President inside the Lok Sabha chamber; she was escorted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The Sengol was carried by a Lok Sabha marshal dressed in traditional attire.

Murmu, who read her speech in Hindi, mentioned the construction of the Ram temple and abrogation of Article 370 in the same breath, as if to underline fulfillment of two key promises of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. The contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, widely seen as a polarising law that has still not been implemented despite being passed by Parliament in 2019, was also stressed in the same sentence.

“Any nation can progress at a fast pace only when it overcomes past challenges and invests maximum energy in the future,” the President said, terming all the contentious moves as decisions taken in the “national interest” for which “people had been waiting for decades”.

“For centuries, there was an aspiration to construct the Ram Mandir. Today it is a reality. There were doubts regarding the removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. Those are now history. This Parliament also enacted a strict law against ‘Triple Talaq’. This Parliament also enacted a law to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities from our neighbouring countries,” Murmu added. Loud chants of “Jai Shri Ram” by BJP members rent the chamber as she hailed the Ram temple.

The Ram temple reference came thrice in the initial part of the President’s speech, and then towards the conclusion. “There come junctures in the history of civilizations which shape the future for the coming centuries. There have been many such defining moments in the history of India also.

"This year, on January 22, the country witnessed a similar epochal moment. After waiting for centuries, Ram Lalla has now been enshrined in his grand temple in Ayodhya,” she said, stressing that it was a matter of “faith for crores of our countrymen”.

Nearly an hour and a half long, the speech was all about hailing the achievements of the Modi government; its content prompted the Opposition to term it a “one-sided, election speech”.

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